Sunday, 22 September 2013

All grown up

Jessica is now officially a schoolgirl!

She had her last day at her lovely nursery over the summer- well, actually she missed her last day as she was ill with an ear infection. However, we went in when she was better to say goodbye
to everyone. I (naively) assumed we would just say goodbye to the staff, but no. The Special Needs co-ordinator took Jessica into the nursery room to say goodbye to all the other children as well. They all sang their "goodbye song" that they sing when someone leaves, and then those that wanted to queued up to have a hug with Jessica. Nearly every child wanted to hug her, some several times! It was so sweet, and the end of an amazing experience for Jessica. There were a few tears (and not just from me!) as we bid farewell to these people who have come to mean so much to us over the last two years, and who have gone above over and above their job description to help us come to terms with, and cope with Jessica's diagnosis (and all that it entails). And, even more importantly, who have also fallen in love with Jessica and truly believe in her ability and potential.

And on to a new beginning, a new school, new staff, new therapists. Jessica has now done 2 weeks at school. In the first week, Jessica just went for a couple of hours in the morning, with me staying with her. The following week she stayed for lunch for the first two days, and then did three full days, including going to school and being bought home by school transport.

Jessica seems to be settling in well. She started by being relatively quiet, but clearly taking it all in, and is now beginning to come out of her shell a bit more. I really liked being able to stay with her for the first week, as it meant I got to know the staff and the routine, so I have some idea of what her day is like. I also got to meet her classmates, who are both amazing and adorable. It was also really good to see what kinds of activities the class do, and how the staff make the day enjoyable, educational and yet accessible for a group of children with such a wide range of abilities. Jessica seems to be getting used to the school bus - apparently she giggles the whole way there and back, and one of the older children cries when Jessica gets dropped home, as she loves sitting next to her on the bus!! It is also really beneficial to have all Jessica's therapists (Physio, OT, Speech and Language) in one place. I was watching them assess Jessica in the classroom and it just worked so well. They could discuss everything between them in one session, whereas before they would tend to see Jessica separately, and then email each other. So what was achieved in 30 minutes in school would have previously taken several weeks, lots of emails and some chasing up on my part!

One thing I am unsure about (and it is relatively minor in the scheme of things) is Jessica's uniform. The uniform is not compulsory, but having seen the amount of mess the kids get into (painting, sticking, cooking, gardening etc) I am reluctant to send Jessica to school in her "nice" clothes. But choosing her outfit every day is something that Jessica is very keen on, and I worry that by putting her in her uniform I am taking away one of the few areas of independence she has, and one of the few ways she has to express her personality. So we have compromised, and are trialling giving Jessica a choice of which hair-clip to wear instead. As you can see from the photo below, on this day she choose a purple sparkly one!! She looks so grown-up in her uniform!


  1. She does look very grown-up! I fume regularly about school uniform - seems so utterly unnecessary to me, at primary school at least. Amy has to wear uniform at her school, while her big sister's school is (hurrah) a uniform-free zone. I don't like stuffing Amy into her school shirt - would much rather have the freedom for her to wear a loose top over her spinal brace. Hope she keeps enjoying it! xx

  2. She really does look grown up, and I have to be honest - I love seeing her in something other than all that pink! Haha! I'm very pleased that she's settling in well and enjoying herself.
    Good luck to her, and enjoy the time alone with Anna. XX

    1. That's all very well but it appears 4 year old girls (Jess included - she makes that very clear!) like all things pink and sparkly!!!!!


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